If you suspect you have vermiculite insulation in your home, DO NOT DISTURB IT other than to take a sample for testing or to have it removed. Any disturbance is likely to release asbestos fibers into the air. The EPA and ATSDR strongly recommend:
- Vermiculite insulation should be left undisturbed in your attic. It is best to assume that the material may contain asbestos.
- Do not store boxes or other items that when retrieved, would disturb the insulation.
- Children should not be allowed to play in an attic that has vermiculite insulation.
- If you plan to remodel or renovate, hire professionals trained and certified to handle asbestos to safely remove the materials.
- Never attempt to remove the insulation yourself.
Source: EPA's Current Best Practices for Vermiculite Attic Insulation, May 2003
Any activity that disturbs Zonolite Attic Insulation can result in asbestos fibers becoming airborne. Remodeling and renovation activities are the most common of these activities. The careful collection of a vermiculite sample should not create a significant disturbance.
VERMICULITE SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS
Claimants may submit a sample of vermiculite attic insulation for testing to determine if it qualifies for reimbursement/compensation under the ZAI Claims program. This procedure DOES NOT test for asbestos content. All claimants must submit a claim form (see Online Claim Form or View and Print Claim Form) and chain of custody (Appendix B, bottom of this page) when submitting a sample for testing. To print the chain of custody, please click the image of Appendix B. This will take you to a printable PDF.
PLEASE READ THESE SAMPLING PROCEDURES CAREFULLY INCLUDING THE IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER AT THE END. PLEASE CALL THE TRUST IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS. CLAIMANT ASSUMES ALL RISK AND LIABILITY ASSOCIATED WITH SAMPLE COLLECTION.
There are two options for collecting a sample: You may hire a certified asbestos professional (or licensed or certified home inspector) to collect the sample for you or you may collect the vermiculite sample yourself.
1. Hiring a Certified Professional*
The cost to have a certified professional collect the sample, as recommended by the EPA, may be included in your claim for reimbursement. This applies only to the sampling of vermiculite and not other suspect asbestos containing materials. Note: Both the claimant and the contractor must sign the Chain of Custody documentation and declaration for truthfulness. By submitting a claim for reimbursement you are authorizing the Trust to contact the abatement professional regarding your claim.
2. Take the Sample Yourself
If you collect the sample yourself, we strongly suggest using the following precautions at a minimum:
a. Assess whether the floor in the attic will support a person's weight. It is the claimant's responsibility to ensure that appropriate precautions are taken to ensure safety.
b. Significant disturbance of Libby vermiculite can release fibers in the air. The EPA advises that if you have to go into your attic that you limit the number of trips and shorten the length of the trips. A careful collection of a few samples of vermiculite should not require much time or disturbances.
c. Wear disposable gloves and asbestos respiratory protection when collecting the sample and dispose of the gloves when you are done, especially if you intend to make multiple visits to the attic or disturb the vermiculite more than would be required to collect a few samples.
d. Use a clean 3-ounce glass or plastic screw-top lid jar or Ziploc style bag for collection. A plastic, Ziploc-style bag may be used as well. See Appendix A and C for a photograph of an example of the type to use. Before entering the attic, use a felt-tip marker to label the top of the jar or bag with the address and date.
e. Use the jar/bag carefully to scoop the insulation into the jar/bag, or use a separate disposable scoop to put the insulation into the jar/bag. Avoid collecting non-vermiculite substances (e.g. wood or particles) if possible. Take multiple samples of the insulation from different areas of the attic and collect them in a single jar or bag. Please carefully scoop to the full depth of the vermiculite rather than just scooping it from the top. This will help ensure that the sample is more representative of the constituents throughout the vermiculite. You should fill the jar or bag nearly full.
f. Before leaving the attic, wipe the outside of the sample jar or bag with a clean damp cloth, then place the jar/bag in a seal-able Ziploc style plastic bag.
g. After coming down from the attic, also wipe the plastic bag containing the sample with a clean damp cloth.
h. Label the outer bag with the address and date, complete the attached Chain of Custody forms (Appendix B), and ship the labeled bag to the Trust.
i. Upon completion, clean the entire area near the attic access point thoroughly with wet mops, wet rags, sponges, or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners to insure that vermiculite is not tracked into your living space. A regular vacuum cleaner should never be used. Dispose of all cleaning materials, disposable equipment and gloves used in the job in sealed, leak-proof, heavy-duty plastic bags.
j. Your sample does not need to be sent FedEx, overnight, or any sort of priority. Regular mail is fine. There is no deadline for filing the claim. However, if time is of the essence for some reason that we are unaware of, for example, abatement is scheduled to be done quickly, you may wish to use some method of priority mail.
k. Please note that if your sample results are inconsistent with the Zonolite Attic Insulation product, the Trust is willing to test up to two more samples at no cost to you. If you intend to remove the vermiculite before your sample results are received by the Trust, you should consider collecting two more samples before the removal.
NOT ALL VERMICULITE IS THE ZONOLITE BRAND, AND YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNLESS YOUR VERMICULITE IS SHOWN TO BE THE ZONOLITE BRAND.
The Trust will have the samples analyzed using US EPA methods for Solid Waste (SW 846) namely. The analysis is designed to be a feasible, reliable and economical test to distinguish ZAI from non-ZAI and does not test for asbestos content. (See Disclaimer) If the analysis is unable to distinguish ZAI from non-ZAI, additional product identification information will be required.
The analysis conducted by the Trust DOES NOT determine whether the sample contains asbestos. No representations are being made as to the asbestos content in your sample. Rather, the testing protocol is designed to be a simple, cost effective method to help you meet the evidentiary requirements in the claim form.
The ZAI Trust disclaims any liability or risk resulting from the use of the work practices and recommendations discussed in these instructions. It is the claimant's responsibility to ensure that these recommendations comply with all applicable federal and local laws and regulations.
*The EPA and the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) recommend using a trained and certified professional to conduct asbestos work. Removing the insulation improperly by yourself could potentially spread asbestos fibers throughout your home, putting you and your family at risk of inhaling these fibers. For certified asbestos professionals in your area, refer to your local Yellow Pages or equivalent. Your state environmental agency can confirm that the company’s credentials are current. You can find your state agency at:
Jars are made of P.E.T. (polyethylene terephthalate which is high quality, impact-resistant, clear, food-grade plastic. The white screw-on lid (included) has no liner and is smooth and flat to accommodate labels.